Instagram, like most social media platforms, has changed drastically since it was first launched.
Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger launched the free photo app back in October 2010 and managed to secure over 100,000 downloads in their first week alone.
Originally, it was designed to help smart phone users make their photographs stand out by adding a range of pre-made filters to their pictures.
However, the app quickly established itself as one of the world’s most popular and fastest-growing social media networks and it wasn’t long until the giants of Silicon Valley saw it’s potential.
Kevin and Mike only owned Instagram for two years before selling it to Facebook for a whopping $1bn in 2012. Since then, the app has been completely transformed.
In fact, just this week, Instagram made two landmark announcements. Firstly, it announced that the app has finally surpassed the one billion user milestone, a huge feat for the company.
However, it was the second announcement which will have the biggest impact on businesses and especially those working in PR and Marketing.
This announcement was the launch of its ‘most exciting feature to date’: IGTV, a new app for watching long-form, vertical video from Instagram creators.
The launch of IGTV not only sees Facebook/Instagram establish itself as a challenger to the mainstream media but also to the tech giants looking to muscle in on the broadcasting industry.
Much has been made of Amazon and YouTube and their ambitions to bag sporting rights in recent times, especially the English Premier League, which is worth hundreds of millions.
Now, whilst Amazon and YouTube already have established audiences and platforms to air live TV and sporting events, Instagram has a whole host of unique content creators who can immediately begin streaming live content.
Also, while Instagram has launched a stand-alone IGTV app, users can also watch live content via IGTV from within the Instagram app, so the entire community of one billion can use it from the very start.
So, what does this mean for brands? Not only will it open up more digital advertising opportunities, but it will also lead to more platforms for businesses to share their content and attract customers.
IGTV is different in a few ways. First, it’s built for how you actually use your phone, so videos are full screen and vertical. Also, unlike on Instagram, videos aren’t limited to one minute. Instead, each video can be up to an hour long.
Instagram has also made it as simple as possible, too. Just like turning on the TV, IGTV starts playing as soon as you open the app. You don’t have to search to start watching content from people you already follow on Instagram and others you might like based on your interests.
You can swipe up to discover more — switch between “For You,” “Following,” “Popular” and “Continue Watching.” You can also like, comment and send videos to friends via Direct Message, meaning users can easily share your content amongst their own networks.
Video has already changed the way we use social media in recent times, with Facebook alone admitting that it now prioritises video content over all over forms being shared on the network, and IGTV is just another example of how digital trends are changing to favour live media.
So, if you’re a business looking to start producing more live video content and increase your website presence, why not take a look at IGTV? As a free to use platform, it could be a great addition to your PR and Marketing activity.